I like to think of myself as someone who enjoys a certain amount of risk, perhaps a bit more of than the average person. Do I take a gamble now and then ? Sure. Would I consider myself a gambler of sorts? Well, after talking to professional online poker player Jason a.k.a “pr1nnyraid” a.k.a “Krantz”, the answer to that question is a resounding, “No”.
It’s not that I think that Jason, who was the biggest winner in online No Limit cash games for 2007, would consider himself a gambler either, just someone who takes well-calculated risks. But to me, playing online poker is a huge gamble.
Jason is part of a gang of 4 — four online poker playing friends, that is — featured on the new G4 series, Two Months.Two Million. (2M2MM), premiering, Sunday, August 16 at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. The show follows the guys as they attempt to earn $2 million in a mere 2 months playing high stakes online poker.
Although you can literally play the game in your unfinished basement, if you so choose, the guys, Brian, Emil, Jason and Dani, get to play for fun and profit in a 10,000 square foot mansion on three acres outside of the Las Vegas strip. Amenities include a converted home theater space with “four 50-inch plasma monitors connected to each other’s custom computers…where one or all of the guys can play simultaneously” and a “Tilt Room” where they can destroy or beat up stuff in order to blow off steam. (The “Tilt Room” was Jason’s idea.)
Oh, did I mention they have a personal chef and some sweet new friends — Playboy Playmates.
Nice work, if you can get it.
So how does one become a high stakes online poker player? Well, Jason, 25, who studied screenwriting while in college, started playing No Limit Texas Hold ’em at the age of 12. After holding an array of jobs including “mouse-pad cutter” and “tent cleaner” he “found his calling as a professional online poker player.”
Nice but why online poker? According to Jason, you can play in your pajamas if you like and it beats going to some smoke-filled casino where you run the chance of interacting with some unsavory elements. And, he said, over the past 5 or 6 years, people have been studying poker academically and applying a more scientific approach to playing the game thus improving the odds of winning.
Ultimately, Jason became fascinated with the culture of smart young people with a lot of disposable income and freedom who were operating outside of the system — the system of the 9-to-5 workforce grind.
Talking to Jason, who is also the Founder and Creative Director of an online poker training community, DeucesCracked.com, was quite interesting, although the talk of numbers, percentages and what-not had my brain, which can barely add 2 and 2, swimming.
What I did learn is that there is a “unique culture in which people loan each other 5 to 6 figure amount for gambling purposes”. (Why haven’t I met these people?). He told me about this game “Credit Card Roulette” in which a group of friends (and we hope they are friends) go out somewhere, perhaps to a fancy restaurant. At the conclusion of the meal, each one puts his credit card on the table. They are shuffled around and the waiter is invited to pick a card, any card. The person whose card has been chosen has to pay for everyone’s meal. Note to Self: Never play roulette with my credit cards.
As you might suspect, Jason said that there is a big difference between recreational and professional poker playing. If you play professionally, it’s imperative that you reduce your risk of going broke…reduce it to close to zero. Just as you wouldn’t put all of your assets in the stock market, nor should you put all of your money, including the funds you need to live, on the poker “table” because, in poker, “you are going to have horrible streaks of bad luck.”
Jason explained this to me: If I played one hand of poker against him, I could possible win. But as play continued, my likelihood of winning would be greatly reduced because his skill would supercede my “luck”.
With that said “poker is almost as much a mental game as it is strategic one. It’s very stressful. A lot of people aren’t cut out to handle it.” Oh, yeah, and Jason said that generally, even the best only win, on average, 60 percent of the time. Speaking of not being able to handle it, he said that the crew was more affected by the gang of 4’s losing than they were.
As for the show, Jason explained that 2 Months.2 Million. is “not a poker competition show”. For one thing, they realized that it’s not very interesting watching people play poker all day. No, he said, the show is more about friends who are enjoying a summer of fun as they pursue a fantastic “prize.”
“It’s like Entourage ,” said Jason, “with the acting replaced by poker.”
So you want all in? Join the cast on Facebook and Twitter . Also, the Facebook fan site is running a contest where one grand prize winner will receive a $200 iTunes gift card and a 2M2MM poker visor, and four first prize winners will receive a $25 iTunes gift card, a 2M2MM poker visor, and one full month of Premium Access to Deuces Cracked, the online poker strategy community founded by 2M2MM cast member Jay Rosenkrantz (a.k.a Jason)! There will also be another promotion running next week on the page.